Book Review – Romance

Book Review – Destined: a novel of the Tarot By Gail Cleare.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank the author Gail Cleare for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review. I approached her via a book reviewing newsletter I get so no sneaky deals done. Just me simply wanting to read a book as it looked interesting.

Okay, so I will say I felt ‘Destined: a novel of the Tarot’ was going to be a lot different than it was. Like other reviews I’ve read, I was thinking it would be more an urban fantasy romance mystery than the… ‘women’s fiction’ it turned out to be. But hey, I read it, enjoyed it to some extent and so am not disappointed I requested or read it.

But, yeah, if you were looking for something with a plot, mystery, adventure – don’t read this book. It is more a constant rambling journey of someone thinking out loud as they find themselves. It’s more about love, life, learning how to be who you are and all in all – that girly affirmation stuff we sometimes need to read to help us reconnect with who we truly are.

So, if you can’t tell yet, I have mixed feelings on ‘Destined: a novel of the Tarot’. It wasn’t what I had hoped and expected… but it was an entertaining, feel good, brain fairy floss book type book I enjoyed all the same.

I will admit to being a bit annoyed by the inconsistencies of belief. One moment the main character is in touch with people, their auras, spirits, etc… the next she is saying she has no true belief. Meditates and knows about her chakra, then later on needs to have it all explained to her.

But, other than that, it was still a feel good book suited to my eco green hippy Pagan ways. Those who have left bad reviews for this book simply didn’t get it. They expected something and closed their minds off to all other options. I expected something different than what the book is, but enjoyed the rambling, plotless, feel good journey all the same.

‘Destined: a story of the Tarot’ to me was like a fictional story of the perfect world, people and friends – there to help create a positive affirmation of life. Telling the reader that this sort of thing may indeed be possible and, if not, hopefully the read was at least entertaining. Mind you, I read this mostly while listening to my new downloaded album of ‘Zen Meditation’ music so maybe I just found the blend of the two worked well together and allowed me to enjoy what was there rather than get annoyed that it wasn’t what I had wanted?

Oh, and although I didn’t use my Tarot while reading this book – I do indeed own a deck (rune stones too) and with some pretty major things happening in my life right now I feel ‘Destined: a novel of the Tarot’ has really helped reinforce my belief and need in using these tools to help find guidance from within myself. A shove in a direction I haven’t been for a while. So, although no Tarot cards were touched during the reading of this book, I can see myself grabbing my deck soon to ask a few important questions and seek guidance. 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

This is a tough call as I really don’t know. Why? As this is a genre I usually don’t enjoy and avoid like the plague. Feel good women’s fiction with HEA endings and all that. I am just surprised the main character wasn’t a vegetarian – as it seems that most of them are vegetarian or vegan when I read characters like this of late.

So, yeah, as much as I enjoyed this book, after stumbling into it being something I didn’t expect, I really don’t know if I could recommend it as it’s just not something I usually read and so don’t know who I would really recommend it to.

 

Would I buy this book for myself?

No, I can’t say I would. Please realise though that this is due to me simply not being a fan this genre and not a comment on the quality of the book. The quality is not bad, just not really my thing.

In summary: A feel good story of female affirmation on love, life and finding one’s own path in life.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Scandalous Lady by Beth Elliott.

scandalous-lady

3 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Endeavour Press for Auto Approving me on Netgalley, therefore allowing me to get a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

It was a nice little romance… a little slow in places for me but all in all ticked all the right boxes to make it a decent little historical romance.

And, I have to say, you can really feel Ms Elliott’s love for the location and era this book was set in through her descriptions of people, places and even times of the days. It was a lovely connection and rather reminiscent of the late great Elizabeth Peters works set in Egypt.

As for the storyline? Well, as I said it was a little too slow for me, but I feel the fault lies with the reader and not the book. There are likable protagonists – heroes and heroines, villains causing scandals, mysteries, tension (both sexual and political/cultural) and the much needed HEA – Happily Ever After – this sort of romance requires and did well.

I will say that the formatting of the ARC I read wasn’t that good. Words ran together, paragraphs began mid-sentence, full stops were often missing. But I did not let this affect my score as I knew full well it was an ARC I was reading and so will assume the final eBook format is much better.

Would I recommend this book to others?

I would. It’s a nice little historical romance – not too heavy on any topic – that was very enjoyable to laze away my Christmas break reading. If someone wanted something that wasn’t too hot and heavy, too emotional or too troublesome, I would recommend ‘Scandalous Lady’. It has just the right balance of everything to be the perfect afternoon read.

 Would I buy this book for myself?

I might… but only as an eBook and only if I knew the eBook formatting had improved since the ARC. It was a fun little read that I could possibly see myself drawn back to from time to time… but really, right now, something I would see more as a book I would borrow again and again from the library as the mood took me. Though it has made me interested to see what other works Ms Elliott has written.

In summary: A good little historical romance to be enjoyed with your feet up, a hot drink and some choccies.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Lady Lost by Jane Goodger.

lady-lost

2 out of 5 stars.

New disclaimer due to new Amazon rules: I was gifted a free electronic copy of this book by Kensington Books, via Netgalley. I am not obligated, nor being forced, to post a review – I’m doing it of my own free will as I enjoy reviewing.

On advice from Amazon, and based on their emailed reply I can say – “My review is given voluntarily and the Author/publisher does not require a review in exchange for the book, or attempt to influence my review.”

My Review:

Okay, from the score you can tell I wasn’t a huge fan of this book… and I do plan on explaining my reasons to you too. But I want to start off by pointing out three things:

I read the entire book – that says something. I didn’t just give up in disgust as I have done with so many other works of late.

I am perfectly imperfect and know some readers find my own writing leaves a lot to be desired. Whether that be my books or my blogs. 😉

I am not an expert on the era in question, nor a world leading critic – so please feel free to mutter to yourself ‘What would she know’ if you don’t agree with me. 🙂

Now that is all sorted, here comes the dreaded constructive criticism as to why I was not a fan of this book. Firstly it was the third book in a series – not something mentioned on Netgalley – and I am never a fan of books mid-series. I do believe they are all stand-alone works, but still… not a fan of mid-series books.

Also, I really did find ‘Lady Lost’ came across more as a fan-fiction work than an actually well written piece. Meaning, the author is someone who is a fan of the historical romance and so felt that alone would give them the experience to write an historical romance… it did not. It really came across as a horrid mish mash of cultures, ideologies and eras. Half the time it was as if we were still in the Georgian (Regency) era and then we would suddenly be transported to Victorian era ideologies and technologies and then into the 21st century and back again. Really gave me a headache that it wasn’t planned and mapped out that well.

Perhaps it is because I do read a lot of work from the two former eras that were written in those eras? Perhaps it’s because the modern works I do read were well researched and the stories fleshed out to set the appropriate scene, use the correct terminologies and – mostly – stick to the ideologies and principles of those eras… Maybe I am just being a picky book snob? All I can say is the writing style and its hit and miss fan-fiction approach got to me in the end and lowered the score.

I also found the constant hot and cold approach rather annoying. I mean, every single page seemed to chop and change between the negative “get them out” to “I need them to stay” mantra that I started to wonder if the leading man was bi-polar (not that that condition was known as that back then). Doing it occasionally throughout a romance story, to keep it spicy and that desire, intrigue and anguish drawing the reader on – that’s good. Chopping and changing every single page? Dull, annoying and frustrating (but not in the good frustrating one reads a romance book to get).

There was no true emotional attachment to the work. It was as if the author knew all the right boxes to tick, but couldn’t be bothered putting their heart and soul into it and fleshing it out (pardon the pun) more to help the reader connect too. It could be from a lack of life experience to help add the needed emotions, it could be from lack of experience in writing this genre outside of fan-fiction, it could be me being a nit-picky so and so… There just was something there that was lacking to the point I just could not connect with the work, but was determined to finish it as Kensington Books usually provide such good quality works. This one, for me, was severely lacking.

Would I recommend this book to others?

No I wouldn’t. There are far better modern written historical romances out there to have people waste their time on this one. Sorry.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Again, no I wouldn’t. And again I feel I must apologise. But there was just so much lacking in this book that I feel disappointed to have read it.

In summary: Not the best historical romance, more a fan-fiction style work and not something I would recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Book Review – Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Title.

Practice makes perfect

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Kensington Books for providing me with a free ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

This was a cute little novella and really is what it is… And what it is is a fast paced, light hearted and amusing look at how to best write romance… set in a romance novella.

I loved its simplicity; we all knew where it was going from the title and blurb, so no real surprises along the way. But it was well written, filled with humour and I loved that the people were “real” i.e. flawed, but still got their happy ending. As someone known to read and (attempt) to write romance myself, I know how tough that genre is… and I also know the misconceptions a lot of people who HAVEN’T tried to write it have about it… so this tongue in cheek look into the world of romance writing was delightful. Oh, if only we could all get some theory and practicals like that in our jobs! We might all enjoy them more! 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. It is a completely entertaining, amusing and feel good romance with the right level of hot and steamy to bring a satisfied smile to your face. You know what I mean!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Maybe. I mean, there is nothing wrong with it, and I did love it… but it would depend. It is just a novella after all and would need to be priced reasonably for that reason. If so, then yes. Though, if I am honest, I would be far more attracted to an anthology of the ‘Southern Comfort Romance’ this book says it’s part of. It does make me curious to find more in this series… so either way I can say it was enjoyable enough to make me look for more.

In summary: A fun little story with all the right mix of things to make it an enjoyable quick read. An afternoon of pleasure shall we say? 😉

Until next time,

Janis.